I was struck recently, whilst attending a local church, by an outpouring of thanksgiving for one particular member of the congregation. This lady was quite elderly and she had served 57 years, caring for the under five’s whilst their mothers and fathers attended the service. She welcomed the children, hugged them, sang songs with them, played games and told them stories about the Lord Jesus. I knew how precious she was from my own grandchildren, who loved attending and felt completely safe in this ‘Aunty’s care.
This was the day she was retiring. Many testimonies and stories were read out from those who were now grown up, but who wanted to thank her for fond memories of always being there and the solid Christian foundation for which they were deeply grateful. Some of the testimonies were of those who knew how she had impacted them in giving their life to Christ at a young age. There were stories too from parents who spoke of this special ‘Aunty’ never missing a Sunday, being so dependable and who became an ‘Aunty’ for life.
As the bouquet was presented, Peter and I were deeply moved in our spirits by the faithfulness of one dear lady to a whole generation of young people growing up. We knew from our own experience just how much this consistency of character and obedience will have meant in forming those tender early years into trusting God. What an example!
As we drove home thinking of the fifty seven years of faithful service this deeply loved lady had given, we found ourselves thanking the Lord for every single person we know who gives faithful, uncomplaining and joyous service week in, week out and who can be totally depended upon in their role to be there. And then there are those who faithfully pray, faithfully give and faithfully carry out a myriad of tasks, often unseen and un-thanked.
The words from a much loved and famous hymn came to mind, and with it the comforting attributes of God our Father. ‘Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father, There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not, As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Whatever the role, or whatever our task, we can all be laying a brick of faithfulness on which God is able to build His Kingdom, and a whole generation can be profoundly impacted. I was convicted at this service about what the Lord says about faithfulness. I was impacted afresh that God was not so much concerned with our success as He was about our faithfulness. Was I bearing that hallmark of the character of God in faithfully carrying out my part in His Kingdom?
This brought me on to remember some words my mother taught me, which I never forgot, “It is not the qualifications you have, but the scars you bear that matter.” In other words, God is not looking for our abilities or successes but He is looking at what it costs us. He looks at faithful we are in things which may not have recognition, or seemingly do not matter to men, and things which are undertaken in the quiet unseen place, which bring no outward reward.
On this particular day, hearing about this extraordinary ‘aunty’, I thanked the Lord Jesus for all the people in our ministry, seen and unseen, who have given faithful, loyal service in the seemingly small ways, as well as the more obvious ways. Many have stood by their posts unwaveringly and have enabled thousands to receive God’s blessings. I also felt a deep gratitude for those who have been faithful examples in my life. How I treasure those memories.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I give You thanks today for faithful hearts who serve You consistently and fully in obedience, even when it costs them. Thank You for all I have benefitted personally from those who have been a faithful example and rock in my life. Help me, Lord Jesus, to be faithful in my life to what You give me to do, whether it is small or large, so that You can bless many through it. Amen.
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